Michigan Virtual Strategic Plan

Education is changing faster than ever, and so are we.

Lead. Collaborate. Build.

A message about our strategic plan from Jamey Fitzpatrick, President & CEO of Michigan Virtual

We’re approaching a crossroads in education.

In the wake of the massive disruptions caused by COVID-19, we have an opportunity to take a step back and dream about what might be possible in education if we all work together. How should we move forward? How can we design and support better systems that meet the unique and varied needs of every student?

The future of learning will be shaped by how we innovate today. One of the biggest challenges is: There’s no one-size-fits-all learning model that can be universally applied from the top-down. Every student is different. Every school is different. In fact, the innovation process can vary wildly between two schools within the same district.

To honor the complexity of the innovation process at the local level, Michigan Virtual is transforming the way we collaborate with schools, educators, and families.

Our roadmap for the next three years

Since 1998, Michigan Virtual has partnered with over 500 school districts, tens of thousands of teachers from across the state, and countless homeschool families. As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization driven by student success, we have a strong record of supporting Michigan education that spans more than two decades. While many know us for our online courses for students and professional development for educators, we also do a great deal of work behind the scenes to conduct original research, test innovations in learning, and promote best practices.

Education is changing faster than ever, and we, too, must change to keep up. Over the last few years, we’ve been rethinking the way we engage with our partners. As we enact our strategic plan for 2021-2024, our primary focus lies in supporting schools, educators, and families as they transform their vision for student learning from concept to reality. We want to know: What’s your vision for student learning? What can we do to help you realize this vision?

Below you will see the roadmap guiding Michigan Virtual’s plan for the next three years represented by the key drivers that keep us moving forward; our mission, vision, and values; the goals we strive to reach with our work; and the strategic initiatives we’re prioritizing to reach these goals.

Our mission, vision, & values

The following mission, vision, and values represent who we are as an organization and the values we aim to embody in our everyday work:

Our Mission

Advance both learning and teaching through research, practice, and partnerships.

Our Vision

Every person can use digital learning to reach their full potential.

Our Values

Our drivers

What keeps us moving forward

Three powerful words are responsible for driving our future work at Michigan Virtual: Lead, collaborate, and build. These three verbs serve as a promise we’re making to our state: We promise to lead Michigan forward by providing thought leadership in the space of learning innovation, to collaborate by engaging with partners, and to build scalable solutions that enable innovative learning at the local level.

These drivers are important to us because they represent a culture, mindset, and drive toward continuous improvement, supporting our colleagues, and providing new models of learning through research and partnerships. Our commitment to this work stems from our belief that Michigan Virtual is uniquely positioned to help lead our state’s charge toward next-generation learning models that yield greater student outcomes for all.

Our Goals

Why this work is so critical

Why are we shifting toward leading, collaborating, and building? What makes this work so critical? The three specific goals we aim to achieve through this work over the next three years are 1) to improve outcomes for Michigan learners, 2) to increase access to high-quality learning opportunities and resources, and 3) to serve as a statewide thought leader and learning partner of choice for Michigan schools, educators, and families.

These are the goals by which we will measure our success. Ultimately, the first goal is the most important because student success will always be our top priority. The other two goals act in service of the first. By increasing access and serving as a learning partner, we will help catalyze the systematic changes required to move the needle in student achievement in our state.

Our Initiatives

How we plan to accomplish these goals

The following strategic initiatives offer a more specific glimpse into how we will accomplish these goals. First, we will enable flexible learning models for Michigan schools. Flexible learning models are critical to innovation in education because they allow schools to design systems that better meet the unique and varied needs of every student no matter their situation.

Second, we will redesign and scale professional learning for Michigan educators. Any major innovation in education comes with a need for professional development. Our teachers need to understand shifts in pedagogy and how to use new learning models and technologies to effectively reach and teach every student. 

Last but certainly not least, we will inspire innovation in learning and teaching. This happens by collaborating with partners to develop innovative solutions that catalyze change at the local level. We have to inspire one another, obtain buy-in from all stakeholders, and remain fueled by the “why” behind our work.

While these strategic initiatives reflect our plan for the next three years, it’s worth noting that we’ve designed this plan to be dynamic enough to allow us to pivot and readjust as needed to better serve the ever-evolving needs of Michigan schools, educators, and educational stakeholders.

Concluding thoughts: Building toward a better future together

Michigan Virtual continues to play an important role as a statewide laboratory to model learning innovations in Michigan’s K-12 community. Moving forward, we’d love to partner with you to harness design thinking, engage in pilot demonstrations, conduct research, and/or collaboratively create a shared understanding of the future of learning.

We’re eager to learn from you and with you. To build toward a better future, we’ll need a diverse group of stakeholders dedicated to listening, learning, and supporting one another to effect practical changes that improve student outcomes. If you’re interested in exploring what a partnership with Michigan Virtual might look like, don’t hesitate to reach out by filling out the form at the bottom of this page!

Our Board of Directors

Our board of directors governed the creation of this strategic plan by positing a vision for what’s needed to move Michigan education forward and laying a clear framework for how Michigan Virtual is uniquely positioned to contribute to this vision. The powerful thinkers on our volunteer board of directors represent business, industry, higher education, K-12 education, and state government.

Jamey Fitzpatrick

Jamey Fitzpatrick

Jamey Fitzpatrick, President and CEO, Michigan Virtual serves as a catalyst for change and a champion of innovation in education. Mr. Fitzpatrick provides strategic leadership for Michigan Virtual, a Michigan-based nonprofit organization focused on advancing both learning and teaching through research, practice, and partnerships. In addition to his previous leadership roles at the Michigan Department of Education and Saginaw ISD, Jamey also worked in the private sector for Pitney Bowes Corporation. Mr. Fitzpatrick serves on the Board of Trustees for Olivet College in Olivet, Michigan.  He is also a Board member for the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance (VLLA), a nonprofit association of some of the most innovative K-12 virtual programs in the US.

Amanda Wagenschutz

Amanda Wagenschutz

Amanda Wagenschutz is vice president of people and culture operations for CMS Energy and its principal subsidiary, Consumers Energy. Wagenschutz is responsible for operationalizing the company’s talent strategy across the organization, with a focus on cultivating the company’s purpose-driven culture and creating a positive experience for all co-workers.

Passionate for leadership coaching, organizational development, and high-performing teams, Wagenschutz has been a people leader and change-maker for more than 20 years. Since joining the company in 2012, her commitment to a world-class experience for all co-workers has been the core of her Consumers Energy career.

Wagenschutz holds a master’s degree in management with a concentration in human resources from Walsh College. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Oakland University, where she focused on human resources development and specialized in training and development.

Stephanie Teasley

Stephanie Teasley

Dr. Stephanie Teasley is a Research Professor in the School of Information at U-M and has been on the faculty there since 1996. She has a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Pittsburgh where she worked in the Learning, Research and Development Center (LRDC). Her research investigates issues of collaboration and learning, specifically how sociotechnical systems can support effective collaborative processes and successful learning outcomes. She has served as the president of the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR) and the chair of the International Alliance for the Advancement of Learning in the Digital Era (IAALDE).

Darrell Burks

Darrell Burks

After graduating from I.U. with a Bachelor of Science in finance in 1978, Mr. Burks joined PricewaterhouseCoopers in Indianapolis, he later transferred to Detroit. He received a CPA certification in 1980. Burks was admitted to the partnership in 1991. For over 30 years, Mr. Burks delivered a full range of audit and related business advisory services to clients in the retail, government, higher education sectors, as well as real estate, manufacturing, and financial services companies. Mr. Burks was the partner in charge of the education and nonprofit practice for the Midwest Region of PWC, he retired in June 2012.

Mr. Burks is recognized as a leader and key decision-maker in the City of Detroit; he was appointed by the Governor of Michigan to the Detroit Financial Advisory Board.

Brian Broderick

Brian Broderick

Brian Broderick serves as the executive director of the Michigan Association of Non-public Schools. In that role, he serves as the state representative to the Council of American Private Education. He chairs the Schoolcraft College Board of Trustees and sits on the Boards of Michigan Youth in Government, the Felician Sisters Childcare Centers, and the Education Alliance of Michigan.

Mr. Broderick earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Wayne State University in 1998, a law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy in 1991, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1988.  He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan.

Brian and his wife, Donna reside in Plymouth. They have two children in college.

Prentiss Brown

Prentiss Brown

Prentiss Brown is an attorney with Prentiss M. Brown, P.C., St. Ignace, engaged in the representation of Native Americans. He is a former prosecuting attorney for Mackinac County and general law practitioner. Mr. Brown is a member of the First National Bank of St. Ignace’s board of directors. A graduate of the University of Iowa College of Law, he is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and Iowa State Bar Association. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Albion College. Mr. Brown is a senior judge of the Saginaw-Chippewa Tribal Court in Mount Pleasant.

Rossi-Ray Taylor

Rossi Ray-Taylor

Rossi Ray-Taylor, PhD., is the president and CEO of Ray.Taylor and Associates, L.L.C., a consultancy that specializes in program evaluation, school transformation and turnaround, equity audits, and executive coaching. She is the former superintendent of Ann Arbor Schools, deputy superintendent for instruction for the Lansing Public Schools, and the former executive director of the national nonprofit organization Minority Student Achievement Network.

Dr. Ray-Taylor holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Michigan State University. Her Doctorate of Philosophy in Educational Psychology with a specialty in learning & cognition and measurement & evaluation is also from Michigan State.

Robert Filka

Robert Filka

A Muskegon native, Bob Filka has served the Home Builders Association of Michigan for 15 years. Filka has 35 years of government and policy experience in both Washington, D.C. and Lansing. Early in his career, he was a legislative aide to the late Grand Rapids-area Congressman Paul Henry. Upon returning to Michigan, he served as a policy advisor to Governor John Engler.  He was appointed by Engler as president of the Michigan Strategic Fund and became part of the original executive leadership group that created the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.  Bob is active in numerous organizations and has served stints as chair of the Habitat for Humanity of Michigan Board of Directors and Michigan Virtual among others.


Daniel F. Kiblawi

Daniel F. Kiblawi, retired, is the former president and CEO of Egelhof Controls Corporation, a multi-national automotive supplier specializing in control devices for air conditioning systems. He positioned the company for future success and growth by leading the transition to the electric and hybrid vehicle market for air conditioning and battery cooling control devices. The company’s product line was revamped and the value content per vehicle was increased several-fold. Prior to that, Kiblawi held a variety of executive and leadership positions in the Automotive Tier 1 industry.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, and an MBA from Michigan State University.

Wendy Zdeb

Wendy Zdeb

Wendy Zdeb became the Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP) in August of 2011. Wendy spent 16 years in public education, six years as a teacher, and 10 years as an administrator. She began her career as a teacher and a coach at Warren Fitzgerald High School. She then went on to become AP and AD at St. Clair High School in St. Clair County. Wendy concluded her career in public education as the principal at Rochester High School. She has an education specialist degree and a master’s in educational leadership, both from Saginaw Valley State University and a bachelor’s degree in English and history from Western Michigan University.

Brendan Guenther

Brendan Guenther

Brendan Guenther is MSU’s first Chief Academic Digital Officer. Deployed in a leadership capacity for the Innovation Hub for Learning and Technology at MSU, he oversees online programs and MSU’s digital strategy. Brendan’s career focuses on supporting transformative educator practice with learning technology.

Brendan has been promoted through numerous professional roles over the past two decades. As part of MSU’s Virtual University, he oversaw daily operations providing faculty development, instructional design, universal design, agile software development, and technical support for online instructors and blended learning.

Brendan earned his bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications and a Masters in Educational Administration from MSU and is all but done with a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at MSU.

Michael Rice

Dr. Michael Rice

Dr. Michael F. Rice was appointed Michigan’s 45th superintendent of public instruction by Michigan’s State Board of Education in May 2019. Prior to his start at the Michigan Department of Education, Dr. Rice served 17 years as a local district superintendent: 12 years as superintendent in Kalamazoo, Michigan and five as superintendent in Clifton, New Jersey. Dr. Rice began his career in public education in the Washington, D.C. Public Schools, where he taught high school French and founded and coached an award-winning speech and debate program. He graduated from Yale University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with honors and from New York University with a master’s degree and doctoral degree in public administration, also with honors.

Jeff Williams

Jeff Williams

Jeff Williams, M.A., M.B.A., is the director of the Community Data and Research Lab at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy, Grand Valley State University. In this role, he provides insights into nonprofit and philanthropic organizations and activities, supervises research and technical staff, and is a member of the Johnson Center’s leadership team. He holds professional certifications in project management (PMP) and information systems security (CISSP).

Before joining the Johnson Center, Williams served as the CEO of Public Sector Consultants and has been a keen observer of Michigan Virtual since its inception in 1998. He currently serves on boards or advisory councils for the Capital Region Community Foundation, the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts, and the Council of Michigan Foundations.

Tiffany Taylor

Tiffany Taylor

Tiffany C. Taylor boasts 20 years of experience in education, non-profit, and the public sector. Formerly, she led Teach For America–Detroit as an Executive Director and later advanced TFA’s 51 regions as a national vice president. Now, Tiffany is a Partner and Chief People and Impact Officer at Global Silicon Valley Ventures, targeting the expansive global education and workforce sector. Actively engaged in her community, she holds positions with the Joyce Ivy Foundation, Black Family Development Institute Training, Tutored by Teachers, the AI Education Project and more. Recognized by the Walker’s Legacy Foundation and Microsoft for her contributions, Tiffany champions economic development and educational innovation. A Detroit native and Detroit public school graduate, Tiffany holds degrees from the University of Michigan, St. Joseph’s University, the University of Maryland, and has completed an executive leadership program at Harvard Business School.

Brandy Johnson

Brandy Johnson

Johnson was selected as the President of MCCA in December 2021. Prior to this role, she served in the Governor’s administration, first as Governor Whitmer’s education policy advisor and later as a manager of the Office of Sixty by 30 within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. In 2010, she founded the Michigan College Access Network and served as its Executive Director until 2019. Johnson also was an education policy fellow under Governor Jennifer Granholm. Johnson earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Arizona State University and her master’s degree in public policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Johnson was also appointed by Governor Whitmer to represent Michigan on the Midwest Higher Education Compact and served on Governor Snyder’s 21st Century Education Commission. She lives in East Lansing with her husband, Will Repko, and their two small children. 

John Severson

Dr. John Severson

Dr. Severson is the Executive Director of MAISA. Previously, he served as Superintendent of Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, Superintendent of Harper Creek Community Schools, Administrator of Community Education for Portage Public Schools, Principal of Harper Creek High School, and has held several positions in alternative educational programs. Dr. Severson holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University. Dr. Severson has championed successful projects with the local Chamber, Foundation, United Way, Rotary, multiple health organizations, businesses, private and public community organizations, legislative leaders, higher education institutions, parents, students, staff, and local school districts. He recognizes that we must take a whole-child approach when solving problems. Most importantly, John states, “Amazing outcomes will happen for the children we serve when we work as one.” John has a passion for working with teams to develop systems that ensure every child’s success. He believes the problems we face today can only be solved when we collaborate and build strong relationships to solve problems through the lens of those we serve. As the director, he will focus on those best practices that ensure all students are well, graduate on time, and have great futures.

Let's work together.

Did any of this resonate with you? We invite you to reach out to our innovation team if you’re interested in exploring a partnership with us around any of our strategic goals or initiatives.

Fill out the 2-question survey below, and one of our team members will get in touch with you.